Butlins 2007

From 2nd January the Band had been working hard to build a good performance of Ray Steadman Allen's four miniatures for brass 'The Journeymen'. On Friday 19 January the Band boarded our coach for the 5 hour journey to Skegness. The in-coach entertainment was provided by the younger members of the Band who ensured that everyone was kept awake during the journey! On arrival at Butlins we quickly tracked down our chalets before rushing over to the Skydome to catch the encore from the Brass Band Aid Celebrity Band, and to sample the Butlins hospitality.


This year we had a relaxed start to our Saturday morning since we had opted not to take the option of a 6:30am rehearsal slot. So for the first time we were able to watch the Fourth Section draw take place on the Butlins TV channel. Our name was first out of the bag and was followed by the disk for the number 2 draw. As a consequence our relaxed start to the day suddenly dissipated as we rushed to kit ourselves out in uniform and make our way over to the warm-up tent. The advantage of our number 2 draw being that we had a clear warm-up tent in which to hold a brief top and tail rehearsal of the piece before signing on at the Registration desk.

The venue for the Fourth Section this year was the Centre Stage in the Skydome. This proved a great venue in which to play with a good acoustic and due to its location a good sized audience to play to, even with an early draw. We were pleased with our performance of 'The Journeymen' which mostly went to plan and gave a good musical account of the varying styles of the movements in the piece. The first movement 'The Wayfarer' moved along nicely in a jolly jaunty manner and the feedback from the adjudicators was complimentary. 'The Pilgrim' smoothly progressed along his journey with the main theme moving effectively and well-balanced around the various sections of the Band. The trombone section would like to thank the adjudicators for the compliments made regarding their efforts in the medieval dance section of this movement. The change of style to a smooth jazzy mood for the 'Sundowner' worked well and this movement had some great dynamic contrasts in it. Finally the 'Commuter' had real drive and momentum without the train ever leaving the tracks.

Overall we were satisfied with our performance, and it was good to see the further development of the Band's younger members with several contest stage debutants all putting in fine performances (Ellie Kelly on kit percussion, Hannah Williams on 2nd Cornet, Grace Windsor on 3rd Cornet, and Mandy Hounsome on Flugel).

Following our performance the Band took the opportunity to enjoy the various forms of entertainment that Butlins in Skegness had to offer. A large contingent had fun in the swimming pool and on the water slides, others listened to other competing bands or visited the trade stands and restaurants.

[Photograph courtesy of the British Bandsman]

At 2:30pm the Band gathered together to register for the Brass Band Aid Big Blow world record attempt in The Reds. We are proud to have had 27 of our band members involved in this world record and charity fundraising event. The whole experience was expertly compered by Frank Renton who introduced the various section leaders, interviewing them as well as the various dignitaries and event sponsors/organisers. Each section of the band comprised over 50 players and the overall sound was huge. It was hard to tell that many of the 436 players in the hall were sight-reading their parts to the march 'The Big Blow', especially composed for the occasion by Andrew Duncan, the standard of the eventual performance was that good. We all had a great time helping Briony and Bob Thompson (and the others in the Brass Band Aid team) raise money for this good cause. The Band has purchased one of the 14 limited edition Big Blow stand banners to display on our band room wall as a memento of the occasion.


The results ceremony took place in the usual glitzy fashion in The Reds at 8pm. We were slightly disappointed to miss out on the prizes, but we were pleased with the constructive comments of the adjudicators (listen to the 4barsrest Butlins podcast and you will realise how close we were to the prizes!) and our 5th place. This was an improvement on last years result and shows that the Band is continuing to make progress in the right direction. Our congratulations go to Thoresby Youth Band who retained their title.

For the rest of the weekend we enjoyed the post-results entertainment from the Marines Band, the Grimestein Oompah Band, and others. Sunday morning saw the now traditional walk along the beach and paddle in the oh so warm North Sea by Chris Poole and myself. This was followed by some time spent listening to the Championship Section Entertainment Contest, before the long journey back to Tewkesbury. A good time was had by all, and we are looking forward to Butlins 2008. We would like to express a big thank you to the organisers of this excellent banding weekend.

Friday 19th to
Sunday 21st
Butlins Mineworkers Open Brass Band Festival, Butlins, Skegness - Test Piece: The Journeymen by Ray Steadman-Allen


70th Birthday Celebrations

On the evening of Saturday 24th February the Band congregated at the function room of The Gupshill public house in Tewkesbury to give a brief surprise concert for one of its longest serving members, Betty Ellis, on the occasion of her 70th birthday. Keith had somehow managed to keep the whole thing secret for several weeks.....we're not quite sure how he managed that!

The Band played Happy Birthday as Betty entered the hall before playing a short concert including 'New York, New York', 'The Hippopotamus Song', 'Beyond the Sea' and 'Marching Onward'. We then joined Betty and her family and friends for a party with ceilidh music provided by the band that Keith's son Austin plays drums with. A fabulous time was had by all!

National Children's Brass Band of Great Britain

The Band would also like to congratulate one of its youngest members, William Norman, on being accepted into the National Children's Brass Band of Great Britain. William performed an audition last year in Salford and was informed that he was on the shortlist for the one week course at Bromsgrove School from July 23rd to July 27th 2007. On February 4th he received the letter of confirmation from the course organisers confirming his place.

It is great to see one of our younger members achieve such success and we are sure he will learn a lot form the  National Children's Brass Band of Great Britainís Musical Director, Dr. Nicholas Childs.

Engagement Congratulations

The Band would like to congratulate one of its newest members, Mandy Hounsome, on her engagement to Gavin Neill.

Unconfirmed rumours have it that the sunshine and bracing sea air at Butlins in Skegness prompted Gavin to pop the all important question a week later in Central Park, New York while he and Mandy were enjoying a weekend away! We wish them a long and happy future together, and welcome Gavin into our brass banding family!


Thursday 1st Front Row Section Rehearsal for West of England Regional Contest [7:30pm]
Saturday 3rd Trombone Section Rehearsal for West of England Regional Contest [9:30am]
Tuesday 6th Bass Section Rehearsal for West of England Regional Contest [7:30pm]
Wednesday 21st Workshop with Nigel Seaman [7:30pm - 9:30pm]
Saturday 24th Betty's 70th Birthday Celebration, The Gupshill

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Revised: April 14, 2007